Trainer Roger James has confirmed that talented mare Silent Achiever will wear blinkers when she returns to Australian racing in the 2014 Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
Silent Achiever has worn blinkers in both her race starts in New Zealand since returning from a stint in the spelling paddock and James believes they have made a difference; with the O’Reilly mare taking out the Retina Specialists Handicap (1500m) at Ellerslie on February 15 and the Group 1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at the same venue on March 8.
James told RSN this morning that he considered taking the blinkers off Silent Achiever, after she overraced slightly in the New Zealand Stakes, but will keep them on in the hope that it will help the five-year-old find the improvement she needs to score a win at Group 1 level in Australia.
“I’ve put blinkers on her this preparation and I think that they have helped her,” James said.
“She travels almost too strongly in the race last start, but she did find the line well.
“My thinking is that she was within a couple of lengths of the very best of them all spring in lead-up races to the Melbourne Cup and if the blinkers can help her find a couple of lengths than she could be very dangerous.”
Silent Achiever has generally produced her best form in the autumn, finishing third in the 2012 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and second in the 2013 The BMW (2400m), and James is confident that the five-year-old is in the best condition of her career heading into the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“A lot of mares are better in the autumn and it is fair to say at three and four that she was difficult to trainer because I never really had anything to work with,” James said.
“I had to cotton wool her the whole way, but in the spring she was a different horse.
“Not only did she thrive all spring, but she started to work well which she hadn’t in the past.
“I would like to think that she is at absolute peak now.”
Silent Achiever will contest The BMW at Rosehill Gardens on April 5, after running in the Ranvet Stakes this weekend, and James said that he will then decide whether to set his star galloper for the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) or Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) during The Championships at Royal Randwick on April 19.